The latest figures for the wealth –or poverty- of different parts of the European Union are out today.
They’re for 2008 and show wealth creation (GDP) as a percentage of the European average, adjusted for population.
The league table of member states is below. I’ve added the figures for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, plus East Wales (Cardiff, Newport, the Vale of Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, Powys, Wrexham and Flintshire) and for West Wales and the Valleys (everywhere else in Wales).
Irish Rep. 133%
East Wales 108%
Northern Ireland 91%
Czech Rep. 80%
West Wales & the Valleys 71%
The poorest parts of Europe are what used to be called objective one areas, which are now optimistically known as ‘convergence areas’. They get top level European aid to try and raise their living standards. So it should not be a shock that the West Wales and the Valleys region is in the same bracket as former Communist countries that are entirely in the top level aid category.
The highest regional percentage for the entire European Union is 343% for Inner London. (Capital cities generally do well; even Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is on 167%, making it the ninth highest region in the EU).
Of course, a lot has happened since 2008, hardly any of it good for anyone. When more recent figures appear, the Irish Republic won’t be riding high on 133% anymore. But it would be surprising if the former ‘Celtic tiger’ isn’t still doing better than Wales. Ireland could lose a third of its entire economy and still be ahead of us.